Pre-Arrival Process for J-1 Exchange Visitors and H

• Ryan Redmer: J-1 Specialist/Advisor
• Mary Schnetz: H-1B Specialist/Advisor
Purpose of Presentation
 Our goal today is to clarify the pre-arrival process for
international visitors in either J-1 or H-1B
immigration status.
 The topics we cover will span from the time that an
individual’s J-1 or H-1B status is approved, through
the time of their arrival to the United States.
The U.S. Visa Stamp
 All foreign nationals entering the United States must have
an unexpired U.S. visa stamp (except for Canadians and
those entering on Automatic Visa Revalidation)
 Their U.S. visa stamp must reflect their most recently
approved U.S. immigration status in order to gain entry.
 Once inside the country, an individual’s visa stamp can be
allowed to expire, as long as their immigration status is still
 U.S. visa stamps can only be obtained at U.S. consulates
outside of the United States
Things to Keep in Mind
About U.S. Consulates
 Official protocol as it pertains to obtaining a U.S. visa
stamp varies greatly depending on where an
individual is applying or who is processing their
 Potential areas of discrepancy:
Processing times
U.S. visa fees
Requested documents
Interview protocol
Setting Up a U.S Visa Stamp
 Before setting up an appointment, J-1s & H-1Bs must
fill out the DS-160 for the U.S. consulate at which
they will be applying.
 A J-1 Scholar can set up an appointment with the
U.S. consulate after their J-1 program has been
approved by IFSS
 An H-1B can set up an appointment with the U.S.
consulate as soon as they have received their I-797
Receipt Notice
 However, the appointment cannot take place until
they have received their I-797 Approval Notice
Before The Appointment:
I-901 (SEVIS) Fee
 All J-1 Scholars must pay a mandatory $180 fee that
is used toward the maintenance of the Student &
Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
 For $215, a scholar can have the fee processed faster in
the event that time is an issue.
 The SEVIS fee can be paid is paid online through
United States Citizenship & Immigration Services
 If a J-1 Scholar does not pay the SEVIS fee, the U.S.
Department of State (DOS) can terminate that
individual’s J-1 program.
Before the Appointment:
 PIMS = Petition Information Management System
 Once an individual’s H-1B petition has been
approved, USCIS notifies PIMS
 Subsequently, PIMS notifies the U.S. consulate at
which the H-1B beneficiary will be applying for their
U.S. visa stamp
 If either PIMS or the U.S. consulate is not notified
beforehand, the beneficiary’s approval for a U.S. visa
stamp can be delayed
What H-1Bs Will Need for
Their Appointment
 Original I-797 approval notice
 Copy of the UW-Madison appointment letter
 Copy of the I-129
 Copy of the Labor Condition Application
 Any other documentation explicitly asked for on the
website of the U.S. consulate at which the beneficiary
is applying
What J-1 Scholars Will Need
for Their Appointment
 Original DS-2019 Document
 Copy of their UW-Madison appointment letter
 Some U.S. consulates may require the original letter
 Receipt of I-901 (SEVIS) payment
 Financial documentation matching the funding
indicated on the DS-2019 document
 Valid Passport
 Any other documentation explicitly asked for on the
website of the U.S. consulate at which the scholar is
Administrative Processing
 Sometimes, after their interview at the U.S. consulate, an
individual may be put under Administrative Processing by
 Administrative Processing typically consists of additional
background checks and documentation requests
 This process will typically take anywhere between two and six
 While any scholar can be put through Administrative
Processing, we typically find that it is our visitors from Iran,
Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Etc. who
experience this issue the most
J-1 Program Amendments
 J-1 Scholars who cannot make it to UW-Madison within
the first 30 days of their program will need to have their
program dates amended.
 In order to amend a program, IFSS needs a revised
appointment letter and, if applicable, revised funding
 If only the dates of a J-1 Scholar’s program are being
amended, they will not need the new DS-2019 document
to successfully gain entrance into the United States
 The new document will be issued upon their registration
with IFSS
U.S. Ports of Entry
 Upon entrance into the U.S., foreign visitors will be
met by a U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP)
official, to whom they will need to present:
 Original I-797 Approval Notice (H-1B)/DS-2019 (J-1)
 Valid U.S. Visa Stamp
 Valid Passport
 IFSS also suggests that the individual be prepared to
present copies of all other documentation that was
requested at their U.S. visa stamp appointment
I-94: What Is It?
 Issued by CBP upon the arrival of a foreign visitor
into the United States
 Used as a means to track the arrival & departure of
international visitors
 Contains:
Date of entry to the United States
Port of entry
Immigration status
End date of status
I-94 number
Automated I-94 Card
 CBP recently transitioned to an automated I-94 card
 Upon entry, new arrivals should receive information
from a CBP official about how to access their I-94
information at their website:
 A printout of the online I-94 card can be used in lieu
of the paper I-94 card, wherever it is requested.
 Mary Schnetz
 [email protected]
 608-262-1742
 Kim Maday
 [email protected]
 608-265-5114

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